Words by Jordan Carr and Lani Bruntz.
Red rock glows in the early morning sunshine and the pungent smell of sage fills the air as we fire up the stove for a fresh cup of coffee. Early season trips to the desert have become a luxury we’ve come to desire as snow continues to pile up in the mountains. Although the seasonality of the mountain landscape offers a rhythmic rise and fall of emotion and motivation forcing one to embrace winter’s shorter days, cold mornings and lack of dry trails. But for many, a quick jaunt to the desert offers a needed escape to warmer and drier locales.
Desert landscapes like Sedona, AZ or Moab, UT, have become distinct mountain bike destinations for their inherent beauty, mild climates and expansive open spaces. In the spring, these popular destinations become overrun with mountain dwellers seeking solace in dry trails and warm desert sunshine. One local explains it well “How do you know it’s spring in Moab? All the license plates turn green.” Meaning the green license plates of the Colorado tourists, of which we are included.
Recent spring wanderings in the desert included a trip to Sedona, a bikepack trip on the Black Canyon Trail north of Phoenix, and a few days at the spring Outerbike in Moab.
Wrapping up our winter events with the Silverton Whiteout, a 10-hour fat bike sufferfest or party ride depending on your perspective for the day, before taking a hiatus from the snow for red rock, sand and sunshine.
Posting up in flip-flops and shorts.
The Black Canyon Trail (BCT) is a 77-mile singletrack that parallels Interstate 17 and offers a variety of experiences through the Sonoran Desert landscape, including saguaro forests and rugged canyons. It is the perfect excuse to spend a few days in the desert with friends. We chose to ride the trail over three days in March.
Desert colors were in rare form this season with the massive spring rains received and dirt conditions were quite prime as well. Though the moisture made for great conditions, river crossings along the route were also at an all-time high.
Beautiful camp spots are plentiful along the BCT.
Desert life makes for great #Vanlife. Enjoying a cool Moab evening with friends is a great way to top off a great day of riding world class trails.
Desert weather conditions are often optimal for enjoying a beautiful night beneath the stars. We try to enjoy as many of these as we possibly can. Beware though, spring in the desert can often be cold, windy and sometimes wet.
Stopping at National Parks has become a tradition within our travels, despite being quite a bit more crowded than most public lands we visit, they are national parks for a reason and beauty abounds. We spent a day in the Grand Canyon following our time on the Black Canyon Trail and managed to find some quiet places down near the Colorado River.